The Holiness of the Dark: A Longest Night reflection

The Holiness of the Dark: A Longest Night Reflection

“In the beginning…

In the Genesis creation story, all was dark. And then God creates light. The darkness exists but was not created, perhaps it was original. Eastern Orthodox tradition suggests that all that is not created IS God. Perhaps God embodies the darkness.”

“There is a tendency for us to flee from the wild silence and the wild dark, to pack up our gods and hunker down behind city walls, to turn the gods into idols, to kowtow before them and approach their precincts only in the official robes of office. And when we are in the Temples, then who will hear the voice crying in the wilderness? Who will hear the reed shaken by the wind?” –Chet Raymo, The Soul of The Night

“She who wishes to be sure of the road she treads on; she must close her eyes and learn to walk in the dark.” St. John of the Cross

“To go deep, under the ‘known world.’ To where our Shadow lives. That part of us that has been exiled. Things we have not dealt with that grow into dragons. What if we choose to seek out our dragon, to befriend her? To ride the dragon up and out of the under-world. To welcome the dark and wild parts of ourselves and integrate them into relationship with ourselves. To offer radical hospitality to our whole self.”

“What wants to emerge from your shadow, to help you become more whole? What parts of your personality do you not accept? How can you befriend them in order to learn more about your life? Whatever stands in the light casts a shadow.” (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of our Life.)

“I will give you treasures of darkness,
riches hidden away,
That you may know I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who calls you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3 NABRE)

“Darkness draws out our deep-down depths. And, in the northern hemisphere, December’s darkness invites us inward. A lesson in wonder, an elegy for light, and a call to pay attention for the unbroken darkness of a December night.”

The ancient wisdom of Advent: The Dark is not an end but the way a new beginning comes.


Resources for Further Reflection:

Exploring the Sacred Wild in Winter – Journey to Solstice webinar from SDI

Learning to Walk in the Dark: Because God often shows up at night. By Barbara Brown Taylor

The Soul of the Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimage. By Chet Raymo

All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings. By Gayle Boss.




God’s Story of Adam: An Advent Reflection

God’s Story of Adam

“This is your eternal life. You belong to God from eternity to eternity. You were loved by God before you were born; you will be loved by God long after you die…this small segment of the line is your human lifetime. It is only a part of your total life in God. You are here for just a short time—for twenty, forty, sixty, eighty years—to discover and believe that you are a beloved child of God. The length of time does not matter. Life is just a short opportunity for you during a few years to say to God, ‘I love you, too.’

As a parable of this truth, receive the true story of Henri Nouwen’s friend from L’Arche named Adam. Hear the story from a divine perspective, as if God were the storyteller. God has a story of Adam from above that only God can fully tell, a story for us to try to hear.

God’s Story of Adam


Long, very long, before I gave Adam to his parents, long before he was born among his fellow human beings, I knew him and loved him. He belonged to me as my beloved child. I carried him from all eternity in my heart and mind and cared for him as for the apple of my eye. Then one day I sent him to the planet earth to live among people.

 Because he would be a man invited to suffer, I entrusted him to a loving woman and a caring man who were to be his parents. I sent him to be a silent witness who would bring my message of love through his great vulnerability. I know that few people are capable of fully accepting a gift hidden in brokenness. Therefore, I chose with great care these two people so that they could help me in revealing that gift to the world.

 For 34 years Adam lived among his brothers and sisters at L’Aarche community. He was not able to speak, walk without assistance, go regularly to school, find a job, earn a living, or have a wife or children. He did not give talks, write books, or win a prize. He simply was present among people as a silent witness to my love.

 Then on February 13, 1996, I saw that Adam had fulfilled his mission and I called him back home to me. I gave him a voice, so he could tell me all he had experienced on the earth and in a body that would allow him to walk, run, and dance in my presence to everyone’s delight. I am so glad to have him back, and I know for sure that having been where he was, he will give special attention to all who loved him and cared for him but also to all the people whose brokenness he shared.

Are you ready to hear this story from above? Doesn’t this story echo the story of Jesus, God’s well beloved child? Isn’t this your story and mine? Can you imagine God smiling when we discover the secret that Adam’s story, your story, my story, and the story of Jesus, are in truth one and the same story? We all have been loved by God before and beyond time. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to see, hear, and believe God’s story of us.”

(from Spiritual Direction by Henri J. M. Nouwen, pp38-40.)



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